Mmm, so all those stories about bushwalking in Tassie being dangerous could be true...

Sad news about a missing hiker on Cradle Mountain. We would have walked past there , probably while he is still on the mountain (maybe frozen to death) on the 8th July. Colin and Simmo were keen to tackle Cradle while we were there but the amount of snow and ice made them very risk adverse...wise thinking I reckon. We had enough trouble keeping our feet on the tracks because of the ice, let along climbing a mountain covered in snow and ice.

Unfortunately he had ignored several of the key safety rules you MUST do when you bushwalk in this area. He was on his own, he did not register his walk and took (probably) undue risks. Sad but true it seems.

Below is Clare and Sue heading towards Cradle Mountain (left) from Waterfall Valley. Note the weather, we were lucky , it WAS July.

The following is an edited version of the story from the Hobart Mercury:

The rucksack was the first clue Kasper Sorensen was missing at Cradle Mountain. The 21-year-old Danish tourist was last seen setting out to walk to the summit alone on July 5 and hopes of his survival are slim. Walkers reported an abandoned pack near the summit cairn on July 10 and July 15. Only the second report was relayed to police, who immediately started a search.

Announcing the results of an interim Parks and Wildlife Service report into search procedures, Ms Wriedt backed away from her earlier concerns that rangers were too slow to act. "This report has found that the Parks and Wildlife Service followed the appropriate procedures that are in place following the reporting of an unaccompanied piece of equipment," she said. "There's a check of logbooks, checking whether there are any people who have been reported as missing is obviously a logical step, (and) any reports of anybody overdue. "If we were to launch a police investigation into every single unattended pack immediately, then Tasmania Police and search and rescue would be literally run off their feet."

But a bushwalking search and rescue expert familiar with the area said yesterday that given the mountain's summit was a small space, infrequently visited at midwinter, surrounded by high cliffs and with only one track in and out, the first report should have been taken more seriously. "Given where the pack was -- on the summit -- alarm bells should have been ringing straight away," he said. He said it made no sense for a pack to be left at the top.

Ms Wriedt said Mr Sorensen had not recorded his intentions in walker registration logbooks. "My advice is that there is regular checking of the books," she said. "They're looking for anything that stands out as unusual. And that's vital in circumstances such as this." But the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service's fact sheet on the Overland Track says walker registration books "are not checked regularly and a search will only be mounted if someone reports you as lost or overdue".

More about the search (again, thanks to the Hobart Mercury)

A SEARCH and rescue dog was winched onto the summit of Cradle Mountain yesterday as the search for missing Danish tourist Kasper Sorensen was upgraded.Despite scaling up the search, Western District Search and Rescue Inspector Brian Edmonds said the chance of finding Mr Sorensen alive was now remote.

However, Insp Edmonds said the search would continue until police were satisfied they had done everything possible. Yesterday the Westpac Rescue Helicopter and 20 personnel from Tasmania Police search and rescue, the State Emergency Service and the National Parks and Wildlife Service concentrated on the summit of Cradle Mountain near where Mr Sorensen's ice-covered backpack was found on July 10. The search began five days later on Sunday night but was suspended due to extreme weather conditions. Insp Edmonds said the weather on Cradle Mountain was still making the search difficult. "This morning I had the opportunity to fly over the mountain myself and was able to see first hand the amount of snow and ice," he said. "There is about half a metre of snow around the summit area itself and some of the gullies on the edge of the mountain are holding anything up to two metres of snow. "Because of the snow it is becoming very difficult to keep search teams in the area and it is work only for very skilled and experienced people." He said the low level tracks and huts in Cradle Mountain had all been searched.

Yesterday, Rachel, a tracker dog from Search and Rescue Dogs of Tasmania, joined in the hunt. The 10-year-old german shepherd, one of only two tracker dogs in Tasmania, was winched from a helicopter onto the summit in the hope she would pick up a scent. Rachel's handler, Launceston pilot Douglas James, said while she had picked up a scent he did not believe it was Mr Sorensen's. "She was indicating a live scent from a long distance away," Mr James said. He said yesterday's conditions were the worst Rachel had worked in. "Because of the sheer depth of the snow it was the most extreme terrain Rachel has worked in and while on the summit she was covered in frost."

Insp Edmonds said the last confirmed sighting of the walker was at 8am on July 5. "Mr Sorensen spent the night of July 4 on the Overland Track at Waterfall Valley Hut, about four kilometres south of Cradle Mountain. "We now have information that he was intending to camp on or around the summit of Cradle Mountain for a number of nights." Insp Edmonds said some of Mr Sorensen's family were now on their way to Tasmania.

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